Opening statements were expected today in a murder trial after 10 jurors were seated Tuesday, leaving two jurors and two alternates to consider the case of a man charged with killing a 2-year-old girl.
Jury selection began for the trial of Dorain Bohn, originally from Buffalo, who is charged with seconddegree murder and first-degree manslaughter, felonies, in the April 19 death of Kassidy Dains. He is also charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
Bohn appeared in court dressed in a white and purple dress shirt, black tie and black dress pants — opposed to former images of him in his orange jail jumpsuit.
During the selection process, Campbell, Cortland County Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth McGrath and Cortland County Public Defender Keith Dayton each asked potential jurors a series of questions to help pick who would eventually sit on the jury.
Questions from Campbell included if potential jurors know any members of the defense or prosecution teams; if potential jurors work in or know anyone who works in law enforcement; had any of the potential jurors served on a jury for a criminal or civil trial; and had any of the potential jurors ever been a victim of a crime.
Once Campbell wrapped up she turned questioning over to Cortland County District Attorney Patrick Perfetti’s office and Dayton.
“As you know this is a case of charges of murder and manslaughter,” McGrath told the potential jurors before questioning. “It is also a case of domestic violence.”
McGrath continued by asking the potential jurors a series of questions including how to tell credibility and if someone is believable or not; what they think about when hearing the term domestic violence; should the police be involved in a domestic violence case; and should the police be involved if the violence is within the same family?
“My job is to make sure Dorain gets a fair trial,” Dayton told potential jurors before questioning. “And that’s what I’m tasked to do.”
Questions Dayton asked included how many of the potential jurors have children or small children; did any of them find it hard to talk about the death of a child; and had any of them seen any of the news coverage surrounding the case.
“Can you give Dorain a clean slate out of fairness?” Dayton asked the potential jurors last.
Bohn has been in Cortland County Jail since April on $500,000 bail or $1 million bond. Bohn told police that Kassidy was coloring on the floor of her bedroom on April 19 while he drank and watched television in an adjacent room. Kassidy’s mother, Krystal Dains, was at work.
Bohn heard a thud at 7:17 p.m., he told police, and went to the bedroom to find Kassidy on the floor and assumed she had fallen 5 feet from the bunk bed that had been installed a couple of days earlier.
He later told police he did not immediately seek medical treatment and allowed the child to sleep.
In April, Cortland County Coroner Kevin Sharp testified in Cortlandville Town Court that his initial viewing of the body revealed numerous bruises on Kassidy’s arms, legs, shoulders, chin and back. He determined Kassidy’s death was a homicide.
During pretrial hearings the prosecution asked the judge to allow for evidence and witnesses to testify about Bohn’s alleged domestic violence toward Kassidy’s mother, Krystal, and other family members. They also want to provide evidence regarding his drug use, including the use of Benadryl.
Other documents to be entered into evidence:
• Documents showed Krystal Dains had spoken to police in Buffalo about Bohn alleging an incident of domestic violence. In the documents Dains states that Bohn had punched her in the face, arms and body, which left bruises.
• Chasity Hand, who said she was Bohn’s sister, spoke to police April 24, about Bohn’s behavior.
“Chasity stated that she believes Mr. Bohn was a violent person and is not the good person everyone is making him out to be,” the document stated.
• Dayton said he plans to call a forensic pathologist to suggest the fall from the bed could have caused Kassidy’s death. In court documents pathologist Priya Banerjee said that the manner of death was undetermined.
“The circumstances under which they were sustained has multiple possibilities with no way to definitively prove the exact situation,” she stated in the documents. “Review of the medical literature documents that short falls such as from the top bunk of a dual level bunk bed or from the associated ladder onto a wooden floor would cause such lethal injuries.”
• Court documents show that police entered into evidence a piece of a wallboard measuring 13 1/2 inches by 9 1/2 inches where the middle area was damaged and had a human hair fiber in it. There was also another area of the wall that was dented.
The prosecution said it is looking at having about 40 witnesses. The defense did not state how many witnesses it would have.